Tie keeps No. 6 Los Alamitos ahead in the Sunset League
HUNTINGTON BEACH- The first goal of the season for senior Gracie Kaub helped keep control of the Sunset League in the hands of No. 6 Los Alamitos, as the Griffins and No. 7 Edison played to a 1-1 tie Tuesday at Edison High.
“I wish we could have won, but to get the tie is huge,” Kaub said. “We need to play the last three games like we did this one and bring the same energy.”
Seeking to end the Chargers’ two-year reign as league champions, Los Alamitos (10-3-7; 5-0-2) maintains its’ one-point lead over Edison (12-3-4; 4-0-3). Both teams have three league matches remaining.
It’s also the second time this month the two teams played to a 1-1 tie, as they produced the same result in their previous league meeting on January 8th.
“We had to just keep going at them, working, and battling,” Griffins coach Steve Soler said. “They (Edison) are a good team and are very organized, but we stuck with it and I’m proud of them. We are the team that controls everything at this point.”
After both teams battled for control of the match in the early going, the Chargers claimed the lead in the 26th minute. Senior Brooke Lillywhite made a nicely timed pass through the defense off a free kick to junior Mackenzie Cerda. Cerda dribbled deep into the box and blasted a shot into the far post corner of the goal.
Edison head coach Kerry “Mac” Crooks acknowledged that the set piece play was something Chargers have worked on diligently in practice.
“We looked for those opportunities when we’re at the top of the box and they executed it well,” Crooks said.
Los Alamitos nearly tied it in the 30th minute, but a shot by sophomore Krystal De Ramos twisted just over the crossbar.
Griffins senior Raya Young produced a shot on frame less than 20 seconds into the second half that was stopped by Chargers junior goalie Alison Jahansouz.
Jahansouz came up big again two minutes later, blocking a shot by Griffins junior Sarah Sanger off a corner kick into the box by Griffins freshman Maureen Kennedy.
The Griffins continued their attacking third pressure and tied the match in the 47th minute. On a free kick following an Edison foul, Kennedy lofted a high, twisting ball that sailed toward the crossbar. Jahansouz knocked the ball off the crossbar and the rebound bounced over to Kaub, who booted a shot into the near corner of the goal.
“I’m always ready for those “trash” balls that come out,” Kaub said. “It was almost like slow-motion and I just kicked it in.”
Soler credited Kaub for her field awareness and for making big plays for the team.
“She happened to be at the right place at the right time,” Soler said. “She (Gracie) has been playing pretty well for us and giving us good minutes.”
Both teams had scoring chances throughout the remainder half, as each side produced five shots on goal.
Edison pressured the attacking third throughout the closing minutes of the match, but the Griffins defense came up with big plays down the stretch. Senior Hannah Goldsmith headed out a free kick into the box by Cerda in the 73rd minute, while freshman goalie Siena Ruelas stopped a run by Chargers senior Kelsey Wetzstein off a great header pass down the middle of the field by Lillywhite with less than three minutes remaining.
The Chargers had one final chance in the closing seconds, but a free kick from Cerda on the final play of the match sailed wide of the goal.
“The games with Los Alamitos are always high intensity and this one came down to set plays,” Crooks said. “We now just have to come out and play our best soccer and battle each game.”